22 March 2021

Readers of the April edition of British Vogue will find a University of East London (UEL) alumna's product featured in the 'Top Picks' section.

Cocoa Social Enterprise, an idea developed by Oyin Okusanya with the support of the University, has since gone on to become a fully-fledged business. Oyin graduated from UEL's Combined Business Studies in July 2012.

As a careers-first university, the University of East London supports its students in many ways including through the Mental Wealth & Professional Fitness modules and our new holistic Careers and Student Enterprise Service. Each course has a Mental Wealth & Professional Fitness module which teaches students how to be prepared for the jobs of the future. The Careers and Student Enterprise Service is a one-stop shop for students to learn how to pitch and launch their own businesses. The two services complement each other to provide students with a range of opportunities to turn business ideas into a reality.

The ethos of Cocoa Social Enterprise is to create ethical chocolate using cocoa beans from Nigerian farmers, ensuring they receive a premium fair price for their produce. The company also hosts workshops to educate families on healthy lifestyles.

I was inspired to set up a social enterprise to make a difference and educate people about the wonders of eating dark chocolate. Many people don't know that the chocolate we eat comes from a cocoa bean which is a fruit that is fermented, dried, roasted and churned into chocolate.

"In the making of my chocolates, I source real ingredients instead of flavourings or extracts. I source my cocoa beans from small farmers in Nigeria, Ecuador and Peru. I buy the cocoa beans at a premium price from the farmers so they can send their children to school and feed their families,"

Ovin Okusanya, UEL Business Studies graduate and chocolate entrepreneur, said.

University of East London students can enjoy the chocolates with a special discount. Simply use the code the code "Enjoy 20%" for 20% off all Cocoa Social Enterprise chocolate products. This is valid on all products from now till 31/10/2021.

Dr Paul Marshall, pro vice-chancellor (careers & enterprise), at the University of East London, said, "I am very proud to see that Oyin's work has been featured in British Vogue. This perfectly demonstrates the impact our graduates make in the world. I am inspired by Oyin taking her business idea when she was a student with us to the next level. Well done to Oyin and I cannot wait to try the chocolates.

"As a careers-first university, we strongly encourage our students to think outside the box and we fully support them with their business ideas. Our Mental Wealth & Professional Fitness modules and our new holistic Careers and Student Enterprise Service are some of the ways we do this and we will support students in any way we can."

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